0632 GMT November 12, 2019
Richard Becker, a regional coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition protest umbrella group, consisting of many antiwar and civil rights organizations, made the remarks on Press TV’s ‘The Debate’ show on Thursday.
“There is the spying not only on the US government, but there are clandestine intelligence operations being carried out against anyone in the United States, who is critical” of Israel, he said.
In contrast to other instances of foreign spying, however, President Donald Trump’s administration has not rebuked Israel, and there were no consequences for the regime’s behavior, Politico reported on Thursday, citing three former senior US officials with knowledge of the matter.
Becker also explained that “the White House, and the FBI and the other agencies are being told to keep their mouth shut about this,” because it could cause problems ahead of Israeli elections next week.
“The Trump administration wants [Benjamin] Netanyahu back as prime minister again,” he added.
He further pointed out that the reason Israel is so interested in carrying out such wide-ranging intelligence gathering in the US is that the regime is very isolated in the world, while its protector is the US.
According to a US media outlet, the country’s government has concluded within the past two years that Israel has been placing surveillance devices near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C.
The phone eavesdropping devices, called IMSI-catcher or stingrays, are essentially "fake" mobile towers used for intercepting mobile phone traffic and tracking location data of mobile phone users.
The devices were likely intended to spy on Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates – though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.
Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols. POLITICO reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cell phone to communicate with friends and confidants.